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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week One USA & SCBWI Nationals 2009!

Must be quick.

Must go to bed. Long day. Actually, long dayS. But it's okay. I can deal. I'm in a fancy schmancy hotel right near Beverly Hills right now. Hostels are a lot harder to live in than anticipated.

Feel dirty all the time, one bathroom between 8 people. Nowhere to put your stuff other than in piles beside your bed. No air conditioning in SUMMER in California.
But none of that applies now. Cos we're in LUXURY.

Didn't have to worry about the heat in San Francisco cos it was about the same temperature as the Melbourne winter we had just left.

Eleanor, my travel buddy was somehow upgraded to premium economy for the flight (old business class seats) so after a bit of umming and aahing, she buggered off to enjoy the luxury. 14 hours in Economy isn't the easiest thing in the world, but that was to be expected.
San Fran - we explored and saw Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, Chinatown, Little Italy, Union Square (became very familiar with Union Square) Haight-Ashbury - COOLEST vintage shop ever there - the Painted Ladies, and we did a historic architecture walking tour...AROUND the hills. It was really fascinating, actually.
There were lots of homeless people begging which was sad, and there were lots of teeny tiny dogs being carried around which was...weird.
We walked across the bridge, and went to a local bar one night. Had some lovely Dutch room mates one night and German ones for a couple of others.

Flew to LA - the security was insane, had to take off your shoes, belt, empty all pockets and go through a machine with your hands above your head and most people were frisked as well. A bit scary, and that was just to get from one part of the state to another!

We were staying between Hollywood and Sunset and let me tell ya, if ever you've wondered where prostitutes and exotic dancers get their clothes? It's Hollywood Blvd. Even the mannequins had, to cater for the...well endowed.

Caught the Red Line train to Universal Studios which I loved as I dream that maybe ONE day I'll have a movie or TV show filmed there. Such a shame that their city sets - like New York, and the clock tower from Back to the Future were destroyed in the fires last year or the year before. But they're being rebuilt. The War of the Worlds plane crash set was pretty amazing though. Of course, as soon as we started the tour my camera died, so...

We were at the front of the queue in The Mummy ride when it broke down, so there was an EXTRA long wait. At least we weren't the ones stuck INSIDE the ride when it did. Favourite ride was the Jurassic Park one. It was very wet. And the day was hot. It was the second ride we did, I think. The Simpsons simulated motion ride was good, but a REALLY long wait in line. At least the line moved quickly. The Shred 4D was pretty cool, too. Not often you're sitting watching a movie and a character sneezes and you get wet.

Really enjoyed wandering around Century Walk, a radio station was broadcasting and each Wed for a couple of weeks had an unsigned band play and the hip hop band we saw were AWESOME. Audio something. They were so good live, really polished. I hope the CD sounds just as good. They're launching a CD at the Viper Room soon. Check it out if you're around. Not that you can really tell who I'm talking about with the lack of details I've given you.

As we were leaving there were people taking photos of a set of female blond twins with really shiny hair. Apparently they're in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Should have gotten a photo with them but I didn't actually know who they were.

Did 2 bus tours (one was free - YES!) up into the Hollywood Hills and beautiful homes of the rich and famous, saw the Hollywood sign from the closest point you can actually get to it. Did you know that it was actually a real estate sign, back in the day? Yeah. Advertising Hollywoodland real estate. But they kept it. How weird, huh? But awesome.

Then we did another tour which took us through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, the Sunset Strip, past Paramount Studios and all the offices of producers and day...

A couple of blocks from where we were staying on Hollywood Boulevard a new movie called Valentine's Day was being shot, which has Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher and Julia Roberts in it. Didn't see any of them, but still pretty cool. There were a couple of films being shot, actually.

While out on our bus tour there were police helicopters flying around, and when we moved to the Hyatt, we saw on the news that 3 homeless people had been stabbed, right around where we had been staying. Two of them have died, too which is sad. But they got the guy, which is something. And we're not there anymore.

I was down in the lobby of the Hyatt - SO nice to be in a real hotel!!! Trying to use the internet (neither my phone nor the internet have been working at all here) and was asked by a group of SCBWI peeps if I wanted to join them (hello ladies!) and among the group was my agent, Jill Corcoran! I met Jill and it's been great getting to know her and hanging with her and other writerly world people.
In Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian)'s keynote speech today, he mentioned that the kids book world is a lot more friendly than the adult book world. And I thoroughly agree. Though he had a different reason for thinking so, part of it I think is cos you're among other people who GET it. They get YOU, they get your CRAFT. At least that's part of it for me. I'm just so excited to be around other people who understand.

Wow, this was supposed to be short.

Been a great day though. Went to Jordan Brown, editor at HarperCollins's session about openings to your books and it was really interesting and he was a great speaker too. Sherman Alexie's keynote was amazing as well. Funny and touching and...the man knows how to hold a crowd.
Whilst I was enjoying all of this, Eleanor went shopping on Rodeo Drive, and lounged by the pool. And she got sunburnt. HAHAHA!! I'm a good friend.

Must go to bed and prepare for day TWO! And the Blue Moon Ball tomorrow night. I wonder who will dress as a Moon?
Will blog again when I can!